By Dan Pompei–
(670 The Score) The Bears didn’t get many breaks from the schedule maker this year, but playing the Bengals after their Monday night game against the Steelers in December was a huge one. And boy oh boy, did they ever need that break.
Here are my observations:
1. Of all the things Mitchell Trubisky was struggling with prior to Sunday, confidence may have been at the top of the list. That shouldn’t be the case again. He can play with the big boys.
2. What was most impressive about Trubisky’s performance was his 78.1 completion percentage. And he wasn’t throwing to Jerry Rice and Tim Brown.
3. Where was Dowell Loggains, and what did the person who was calling plays do with him?
4. Loggains called a very nice game. It’s a lot easier to call a very nice game when your players are executing.
5. Jordan Howard ran harder than he’s run in recent weeks — which was a reminder that the team has been set back by injuries even to “healthy” players like Howard, whose shoulder has been a problem all season long.
6. It was good to see Tarik Cohen get some opportunities, but I’d prefer if those opportunities came when the Bears weren’t trying to eat up clock at the end of the game. Cohen isn’t built for that.
7. If we are going to question general manager Ryan Pace for signing Markus Wheaton, we should credit him for signing Kendall Wright.
8. Adam Shaheen’s 44 receiving yards seemed like 144.
9. Shaheen showed athleticism and an ability to catch the ball away from his body that we haven’t really seen previously. If he can show that consistently, he should become an above-average tight end.
10. You never would have known the Bears’ offensive line was without a Pro Bowl starter by looking at the way it shoved the Bengals around. Tom Compton filled in ably for Kyle Long (except for that penalty that negated Cohen’s touchdown).
11. Without much to work with, Vic Fangio schemed the hell out of the Bengals and somehow ended up with good pressure on Andy Dalton.
12. If Kyle Fuller had hung onto what should’ve been interception, this easily would have been his best NFL game. It might have been anyway.
13. The Bears learned some things about themselves and made organizational progress Sunday. That game is a good example of why tanking is never a good idea.
14. These Bears have nothing left to lose, and they played like it.
Dan Pompei has been covering the NFL since 1985 and is a regular contributor to 670 The Score and a host on 670’s Bears pregame show. He writes for Bleacher Report and theathletic.com. You can follow him on Twitter @Dan Pompei.